I’ve had to find myself new biking routes this summer because many of my regular routes have been impassible due to the flood. And because it’s been so difficult to bike this summer, I’ve been jogging more. I’ve been switching off — biking one-two days in a row, then jogging the next day.
Today I biked through City Park for the first time since the flood. Actually I biked TO City Park a week ago, but the sandbags were still up and I didn’t want to climb over the wall of sandbags with my bike. But I knew they’d been removing sandbags so I tried again today (actually, I tried again yesterday, but was blocked by a HUGE tree over the Clear Creek trail…we’d had a pretty strong storm the morning before. I saw other cyclists climbing over the tree with their bikes, but I’m pretty short. This tree trunk/branches etc. were chest high on me. And there was no going around them. The other cyclists also told me there were two other trees over the trail further on (though you could go around those). I decided it wasn’t worth it, so I turned around and rode with them to the north).
But the Clear Creek trail was clear today, so I was able to get to City Park. You see a lot more of the river riding along Rocky Shore Dr. now…some of the trees/bushes along the way must’ve been swept away by floodwaters. And riding through the Normandy Dr. area is a little upsetting. I used to ride through there almost every day…and I’d see the same people: the lady on her adult-sized tricycle (it never mattered when I rode through there…8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., that lady was always out on her tricycle. And we always greeted each other. But I never knew her name), the old guy with the dog, the jogger with the tattoos , the four Red-hatters who walked. But I didn’t see any of those people today. It was very quiet in that neighborhood this morning. The only people I saw were the somber group of people who were cleaning out one of the houses and the guy who was power-washing his house. There was a lot of muck on the road…lots of garbage piled by the road. I have a musician friend who lives in this neighborhood…I hope she’s okay. None of us in our little music group have heard from her since the flood.
The park was awfully quiet, too. The only people I saw were the three guys who were operating the little bulldozers. It was eerily quiet…made worse by the fact there was no wind. Not a leaf twitched. I rode past the Better Homes and Gardens house. Okay, I don’t know if that backyard ever WAS featured in Better Homes and Gardens, but it could’ve been…it was one of the most beautiful backyards in all of Iowa City. Not anymore. All those beautiful flowers, shrubs etc. are gone.
I was surprised there was still standing water in the park today. But not surprised about the mud. There was one spot I almost turned back, but I plowed on through…and then I was able to keep going. On that trail, anyway…one of the other trails is completely washed out. The whole park is full of piles of sand, silt etc. There’s very little grass anywhere…the trees look really sad growing out of the silt. It all looks like the bottom of a dry riverbed…which I guess is exactly what it is.
The Bocce courts are still underwater. I never even learned to play Bocce.
The sandbags are still up behind Hancher Auditorium and the trail is blocked there, so that’s as far as I was able to go. On my way home, I saw the trail behind Taco Bell was open. I was a little surprised because the river is still pretty high, but as long as it was open, I decided to give it a try. I ended up turning back, though, because there was just too much mud. And there was a section where the trail was literally dropping into the river.
It was a beautiful morning for a ride…cooler and less humid than it’s been…sunny…but I sure picked a sad ride for such a beautiful day. I don’t think I’ll be riding that way again for a while.